It’s still August and the pumpkin spice craze is already here. I joked last year that I don’t get into pumpkin-y things until we’re in a month that ends in -ber, but this year, Starbucks didn’t really give me a choice. Their famous pumpkin spice latte is back as of today, and today, I’m gonna show you how to make an even better pumpkin spice latte at home.
Okay, so, before we dive in, let’s make one thing clear: I don’t dislike Starbucks, and I’m not trying to poop on them. I don’t have anything against them, except for their price tag. When I’m traveling, I often stop at Starbucks because they’re everywhere and usually pretty convenient coming off the interstate.
However, I think we can all agree that some of their beverages—the pumpkin spice latte, for one—are heavy on the sugar and high on carbs and calories. According to MyFitnessPal, a basic grande PSL has 380 calories, 51g of carbs, and 49g of sugar. Woof.
So that was my challenge to myself: to recreate the popular pumpkin spice latte at home, for way less sugar, carbs, and calories, and ideally half the price.
How to make a Pumpkin Spice Latte at home
For my take on a PSL, I kept the ingredients as real and simple as possible: coffee, milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and spices. That’s the benefit of making a latte at home: you know exactly what goes in it, and can control how sweet it is.
I made my coffee relatively strong since I don’t have an espresso maker at home. If you do have an espresso machine, or keep instant espresso, you can definitely use that in this recipe. I’ve got a Keurig and a French press, and I opted for the French press this time. Most coffee packages say 1 tbsp of grounds per 6 oz of water. In this case, since I wanted the coffee stronger, I did 2 tbsp coffee for 8 oz water.
For milk, I used unsweetened almond milk, which helped keep the sugar down. Maple syrup is an ideal sweetener because it’s pure and not overly sweet. For the pumpkin, it’s important to get pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Big difference. This time of year, my grocery stores carry pumpkin puree pretty regularly, so I grab a can when I do my weekly shopping.
Lastly, let’s take a look at the nutrition info for my version of a pumpkin spice latte. Keep in mind, this is still not a “healthy” drink, nor should it be treated like one. It’s just a little lighter, and still makes a nice treat when the weather gets cool. According to MyFitnessPal, my version clocked in at 80 calories, 16g carbs, and 7.8g sugar for one serving (my recipe makes two drinks). So again, not something I’m gonna make for myself every weekend, but not bad for a treat.
Okay, let’s get to it. Here’s my recipe for a Pumpkin Spice Latte that’s better than your Starbucks order.
Better than Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte
The same fall essential you love, made at home for half the price.
- 1 cup strongly brewed coffee or 1/2 cup brewed espresso
- 1 cup milk of choice I used unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup heavy cream for topping (optional)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (if using whipped cream)
If making whipped cream, put small bowl in the freezer to chill. This makes whipping the cream much easier.
Make 1 cup coffee per your preferred method (I used a French press).
Put small saucepan on the stove over low heat (don't want to burn the milk). Add milk, pumpkin puree, and maple syrup, and whisk until combined.
Add spices to milk mixture, and whisk again.
Slowly add coffee to saucepan, and whisk slowly to combine. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Remove chilled bowl from freezer, and add heavy cream and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously until cream reaches your desired level of whipped (I like stiff peaks).
When ready to serve, fill mugs about 3/4 full of latte, and top with a spoonful of whipped cream. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.